By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 09/16/07
An unprecedented display of contempt, disrespect, and effrontery greeted General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker as they appeared before Congressional committees this week. As required by Congress, the two returned to provide an update on conditions in Iraq and to assess the status of “the surge,” General Petraeus’ ingenious counterinsurgency method of establishing stability in terrorist-ridden regions.
The last time the General was on Capital Hill was when he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate to be granted his fourth star and head operations in Iraq. Senators from both sides of the aisle at that time praised Petraeus’s military service and intellect. Even Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee acknowledged at that time that, “General Petraeus is well qualified for this command, widely recognized for the depth and breadth of his education, training and operational experience. Noteworthy is his recent leadership of the team writing the new counterinsurgency manual for Army and Marine Corps... We appreciate General Petraeus’ service and his willingness to lead our forces at this critical and dangerous time.”
Yet even before he had a chance to testify on the Hill, legislators were attempting to cast aspersions on the General and his integrity, minimizing the value of his report, and preemptively denouncing whatever results he may have to report to them. That was before he had even opened his mouth!
The radical leftist organization Moveon.org, that apparently owns the liberals in Congress, ran an ignoble full-page ad in the New York Times which carried the large title: “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” “He is just trying to cook the books for the White House,” the ad said. “Today, before Congress and before the American people, General Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us.” The ad also characterized Petraeus as a “military man constantly at war with the facts” who “will not admit what everyone knows: Iraq is mired in an unwinnable religious civil war.” Again, I remind you, this was before he had delivered his update to Congress.
I have known many liberals who are truly open-minded and objective, but those currently serving in congress obviously do not share that trait. This shortcoming is exemplified by a comment by Senator Clinton, and echoed by many others: “I believe that nothing which Petraeus or Crocker or anyone else coming before the Congress will say will in any way affect my view that this operation is wrong.” For such politicos, prejudices, biases, predispositions, presumptions and political expediency preempt any open-minded assessment of fact. I’m convinced that it also evidences an increasingly implemented pattern of calling everyone with whom they disagree “liars.” What good does that for the national dialogue?
The anti-war component on Capital hill, and the “non-profit” political action groups that own them, are so totally invested in defeat and early withdrawal from Iraq that they went on the offensive to discredit Petraeus even before he spoke. The man’s tolerance, patience, and discipline during the hearings were a marvel to behold. The hearing rooms provided a circus-like atmosphere with the radical anti-war Code Pink hysterical screams denouncing our efforts in Iraq and the General, which served as a precursor to the acrid, accusing, and condescending interrogation conducted by the legislators of the majority party.
While it is good for the nation to witness firsthand the collective imbecility, inaneness, and ignorance of many currently serving in Congress and the depths to which they will dredge to discredit an outstanding General of impeccable integrity, it scares me for the world and especially our enemies to see the disloyalty and disunity on display in Washington this week. Those who chided and belittled the General displayed their ignorance of the threat posed by terrorism, showed their contempt for the military, and showed all too readily that what they perceive to be a winning strategy for the 2008 elections for their party is more important than our national security.
If the egregious treatment of General Petraeus is any indication of how some in Congress “support the troops,” we can certainly do without their “support.” In FDR’s time, this would have been tantamount to treason and sedition. But because of the complicity of the mainstream media in painting all efforts associated with Iraq as bad, such seditious treatment of the top general in the field of battle is touted as nothing more than “loyal opposition,” or “freedom of speech,” or “noble dissent.” And they wonder why we question their patriotism!
Politically, I’m gratified by the virtual library of quotes and despicable actions of reproach shown our military and disdain for national security. Yet my love of America causes me to anguish over the myopic, spineless, anti-American stance of so many in Congress. Lanny Davis, former Chief of Staff for President Clinton, says all Democrats should denounce and dissociate themselves from Moveon.org. Yet, in spite of many requests and opportunities to so, none of the Democratic presidential candidates or congressional leaders have done so. That should speak volumes to any American who values national defense, loyalty and support of our military personnel, and patriotism in its unadulterated form.
It appears more verifiable than ever that the heart and soul of the liberals in Congress is comprised of the likes of Moveon.org and the wacko Code Pink. The truism is often repeated that we’re defined by the company we keep. That should be profoundly scary to many of you.
Perhaps most revealing this week was the uncanny similarity between what Osama Bin Laden said in his taped message for the anniversary of 9/11 and what the leftists in Washington say everyday. His charge that “Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception” about Iraq, and his reference to Haliburton and “the liar in the White House,” sounded just like Senators Reid, Kennedy, Boxer, and Congressmen Pelosi, Murtha, Lantos et al. If I was a Democrat, I would find it extremely disturbing that my party leaders sounded just like America’s arch-enemy.
In her condescending inquisition General Petraeus, Senator Barbara Boxer said based on poll results we should leave Iraq now. As an apparent student from the Clinton School of Management (finger to the wind of public opinion), perhaps she and her comrades should be willing to leave congress now based on their 18% approval rating!